by Malia Keirsey
So you’re off to experience the vast, pure landscapes of Scandinavia and you want to learn one – or maybe even more – of their languages. But learning any language isn’t easy and you don’t have a ton of time before you need to acquire some level of fluency. Never fear though, here are ten ways to speed up the study of a Scandinavian language.
This first one might seem obvious, and it is. By memorizing 500 of a language’s most frequently used words, you’ll be able to understand over half of the language. This will give you a great foothold for learning a nation’s dialect and, in most situations, allow you to process the essentials of what the native speaker is saying to you.
Scheduling 30-45 minute daily sessions to study your new language will keep you focused on learning and help keep things efficient and organized. In fact, by using a simple scheduling tool you’ll be able to have everything in a nice, neat place while even setting it for daily reminders that can be sent straight to your phone.
By watching movies and reading books that are in your new Scandinavian language, you’ll immerse yourself in a way that will accelerate the learning process. A key aspect of this is to try and choose movies or books that you’re going to enjoy, this goes a long ways in keeping you focused and makes the challenge a lot more fun!
So how do Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian stack up against each other? Is one harder than the other? What are the similarities?
The truth is that the three languages are quite similar and that if you can speak one, you to some extent, can understand the other two. However, if you’re looking to speed up the learning process of all three, Norwegian is the one to go with. Norwegian writes like Danish but sounds like Swedish, and within Norway itself, Norwegians are constantly exposed to a broad selection of dialects that forces them to interact with people who have a different manner of speaking, thus training them to easier understand Swedish or Danish.
Whether you choose Swedish, Danish, or Norwegian, Icelandic or Finnish, it’s now easier than ever to find a language program that can speed up your learning curve. However, finding the right software for your needs is critical to your success and it’s important to consider a few aspects before you decide which one to use. Factors such as the level of strictness the program employs in terms of telling you what to study and when, the amount of experience you already have with the language, your goals, and if you’d rather spend your learning time during your commute to work on a mobile device, or quietly at home at your computer?
Naturally the more you want to study your new language, the faster you’ll learn it, and thanks to online games the learning process can now be quite fun. Even better, a lot of these language games and apps are free and simple to install from a number of online sites:
Anki: Implementing a method of flashcard learning, Anki tests your knowledge of vocabulary in a variety of categories such as legal terminology and geography.
Memrise: Like Anki, Memrise uses flashcards to turn learning vocabulary into a joyful, immersive experience
Duolingo: This free app allows you to first choose your daily goal of how much time you want to spend learning and will translate what your read into a variety of different languages, including, all the Scandinavian languages!
Downloading your favorite songs in the Scandinavian language you wish to learn is another great way to absorb the tone, grammar, and inflection of the language. By matching up the words you already know in the song to what you’re hearing, their meanings will sink into your mind and further facilitate the learning process.
It always helps to have direct, instant feedback and acquiring a language teacher can help you in your linguistic journey. By having a personal guide to assist you in fluency, assign exercises, and challenge you with plenty of repetition, your speaking and comprehension will not only remarkably improve, but you will master your new Scandinavian language faster than if you just try to go it alone.
So you haven’t even gotten your plane ticket yet, but you’re itching to test your speaking skills with a real live Scandinavian. Well, thanks to the wonders of Skype, you can be sitting in your bedroom in Montana and easily have a face-to-face conversation with someone in your Scandinavian country of choice. Because while studying by yourself is the way to ease into things, the goal is to be able to converse with an actual person/people and the sooner you get yourself speaking it with a native, the faster the process will be.
Now naturally you’re wondering how you’re going to find someone to talk with? Well, no worries. There are websites where for as little as $5 an hour you can get private lessons with a native speaker, allowing you to get the critical experience of communicating with another person while in the comfort of your own home.
There’s involvement, and then there’s commitment. And if you really want to accelerate the process of learning, you need to make the hours you put in count. A great way to do this is by taking an online language course that can sharpen your focus and get the most out of the time you put in. With an online course you can choose the Scandinavian language of your choice, set your own schedule, and greatly benefit from intuitive, convenient learning that includes speech recognition software and mobile learning that allows you to perfect your new language by using computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Malia Keirsey is a young passionate photographer and web designer at the Essays Solutions. She loves travelling and blogging. Scandinavian countries are her real passion. You can connect with her via Twitter and ask any questions.